SATO Wataru Laboratory

The structural neural substrate of subjective happiness

(Sato, Kochiyama, Uono, Kubota, Sawada, Yoshimura, & Toichi: Sci Rep)

Happiness is a subjective experience that is an ultimate goal for humans.
Psychological studies have shown that subjective happiness can be measured reliably and consists of emotional and cognitive components.
However, the neural substrates of subjective happiness remain unclear.

To investigate this issue, we used structural magnetic resonance imaging and questionnaires that assessed subjective happiness, the intensity of positive and negative emotional experiences, and purpose in life.

We found a positive relationship between the subjective happiness score and gray matter volume in the right precuneus.
Moreover, the same region showed an association with the combined positive and negative emotional intensity and purpose in life scores.

Our findings suggest that the precuneus mediates subjective happiness by integrating the emotional and cognitive components of happiness.

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